Recently, a one-month-old baby had been admitted to a hospital in Pune with an infection in his chest. The doctor’s examination revealed that some small lumps secreting milk like substance from baby’s nipple, which was squeezed manually; this was reason that the child had developed the infection.
The phenomenon of a neonatal baby secreting a milk-like substance from the chest/breast is known as ‘witch’s milk’ in rural parlance.
While some babies do get a milk-like secretion in the first month after being born, doctors advise that it should be left as it is and should not be manually squeezed.
The doctors said that a lack of awareness among family members led them to squeeze the lumps, this eventually lead to the infection.
Dr Kalpana Sangle, a paediatrician from Pune, said, “Last week, a case had come to me wherein the baby had developed some infection in his chest. A close examination revealed that due to manual squeezing done by one of the family members, it had led to internal pus formation and this formed an infection.”
“Many times people are unaware that small babies do get these lumps which carry milk-like secretion which sometimes is secreted through their chest/breast. Family members or traditional Dai’s who come to give a bath to the children squeeze it, thereby causing an infection and further complications.”
People should not try to burst these small lumps by squeezing them. Doctors say that as squeezing is hazardous for the baby’s health and the lump should be left as it is.
Dr Lalit Rawal, who is a paediatrician working at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, said, “The squeezing in these cases should be avoided. Squeezing might in some cases lead to permanent damage to the breast. If there is infection, it leads to other problematic situation. People should understand that the lump subsides in some time and it should remain as it is.”